After

My life has an ‘after’.

My world blew up when my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty.   Many of my expectations and dreams for what my future was going to be were snatched away.   Now there is a ‘before’ and an ‘after’ – a major dividing line – in my life.

I talked about ‘before’ in my last blog.   I think it is ironic that thinking about ‘before’ is not without its struggles because it reminds me of all that is lost.  There used to be a light in my life that is has dimmed and a wholeness in my life that is now gone.

‘After’ is clearly the loser in the comparison of the two halves of my life.  I never expected to feel this level of grief or pain.  My father, mother and oldest brother have all passed away but I didn’t know until now that experiencing the death of a child could feel this horrible.

‘After’ is an extremely tough place to be.  It’s hard to move when my heart is shattered.  Everything seems to be ‘less’ than what it was ‘before’.  I have good times….until I’m reminded about all that is missing.

At the beginning of this journey, it felt like l was dropped into the middle of a deep dark jungle – extremely harsh, lots of traps, sometimes struggling just to take my next step, and not really wanting to move forward because Davey wasn’t going to be there.  The shock was so great and the grief was so heavy that it was a challenge to get up and face the mountain of pain that each day brought.

I am so grateful that God has been there to walk beside me each step, taking me through the jungle and helping me to start seeing the light again.  I have learned many life-changing lessons on this journey so far.  Here are a few:

Love really does change things.  Davey said “love you’ to everyone he cared about instead of ‘good-bye” and all of us who loved him were blessed by this when he was quickly gone.   So we all started following his role-model and it changed this very tough road we’re on.  Loving each other and saying it out loud helped us in ways that are hard to explain unless you’ve experienced it.  “Love you” was Davey’s final gift to us all.

I have an entirely different view now of the courage it takes to be a Police Officer.  They face unbelievable things every day and they do it because they care.  That kind of caring runs deep within the hearts of Police Officers, making them go out each day to face the worst our city and our neighborhoods have to offer.  And so many people don’t even appreciate it.

Obviously, I have taken a very personal journey into the sacrifice that Police Officers make for the people in their communities.  They regularly sacrifice other things in their lives in order to do their jobs well and be part of what’s going right in our city.  Some officers, like my son, sacrifice everything – that’s the risk they all take each day as they step out of their front door to do their job.

I also have a new understanding of the place that honor takes in the life of a Police Officer.  There is honor in always taking the high road – being the voice of reason and caring – when they are out on the streets of our city, working to keep all of us safe.  There is honor in the traditions and ceremonies that happen in the lives of our Police Officers.  There is honor in remembering our fallen heroes.

Love, courage, sacrifice and honor are woven together into the souls of Police Officers, making them able to stand for what is right even when they are face-to-face with evil.  They are special.  They are ‘the good guys’.

And I’m proud that Davey was and is one of them.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

Before

My life has a ‘before’.

Before my son, David Glasser, a Phoenix Police Officer, was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016, my world was a different place.

It was a place where my family was whole.  When I think back to ‘before’, there is a special light that shows up in my memories and that light has now disappeared.

My husband and I lived 1 1/2 miles from Davey and his family the last 6 years of his life so I could expect to see him or at least talk with him almost every day.  He would regularly drop by unannounced for something – anything.  He loved people so he was always in search of people to talk to, people to hang out with.  Most of the time Davey had his son, Micah, with him when he dropped by and he wanted his dad to come along wherever they were going – Home Depot, Best Buy, where ever.  His then five year-old son, Micah, called Best Buy ‘daddy’s store’ so that gives you an idea of how often they went there.

Davey was a planner – always thinking about the next good time, the next tailgate, the next trip, the next get together.  There was a feeling of excitement and anticipation when he was around because there were good times coming.  Guess whose idea it was to have some fun with the leaning tower of Pisa when we toured Italy?

He was open and friendly, gathering friends wherever he went.

I miss Davey’s light in my life.

My struggle with the darkness, grief and pain this last 3 years has been tough.  I have often felt the gloom hanging over me, my longing for ‘before’ crowding out any joy of today.

It’s been a battle.  God has given me strength and has increased my faith through these awful days.  He has given me a lot of family and framily (friends who are family) including my Blue framily who have loved me and brought their own special light into my life.

I have started to see some of the lessons God is teaching me through this terrible journey.

One of my big lessons is about gratitude.

I. am. so. grateful. for. the. 34. years. we. had. Davey.

Words cannot express how grateful I am.  I have realized, when I focus on my gratitude for how awesome Davey was and all the great times we spent together, some of Davey’s light seeps back into my life.  Memories become warm and good instead of painful.  When I am grateful for the time we had with Davey, my world seems less empty and much less sad.

God gave us a precious gift for 34 years.

And I am extremely grateful.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

Battle Scars

It’s a constant battle.

My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 18, 2016.  My heart was crushed and my life exploded.

I never use the word ‘healing’ in this journey because that sounds to me like all the pain and grieving heals up and fades away.  That’s simply not true in my life.  The hole Davey’s death left in my life is actually growing larger because he is missing more and more moments and times and events where he should have been…..where he would have been.  That hole is not ‘healing’.  I’m just getting used to it.

I acknowledge that I have accumulated many battle scars since May 2016.  These are places in my life which were torn apart when Davey was killed.  These are the aspects of this tragedy where I have fought and I have cried and I have prayed – and I have moved forward.  I’ve got the scars to prove it.

The Swirl

For the first several months after Davey’s death, thoughts would swirl through my head – not making sense.  My brain was in such shock that it didn’t know how to file all the overwhelming feelings and new, horrible facts that were blowing like a tornado through my life. I have never experienced that before.  Gradually, I learned to stop the swirl.  When it would start, I made my mind focus on something good in my life and concentrate on that.  Gradually, my thoughts would calm down to where my brain could start filing ideas and reactions and feelings in the right places.  This battle brought peace back into my life – one step at a time.  Now, I can see the swirl in people’s eyes when I meet someone who has experienced a recent tragedy.  Been there, done that.  I have fought that fight and it makes me more compassionate for others who are dealing with ‘the swirl’.

Fallen but not forgotten.

Losing someone you love in a law enforcement line of duty death is so different from other deaths.  It’s very public and there are crowds of people involved at all levels.  With Davey, our whole city grieved.  Our Blue Family across the country grieved.  Every May, we have several memorials where all fallen officers are recognized and remembered.  Police Week in Washington, DC is a huge memorial for all of the heroes we have lost.  Participating in these memorials is right and good.  It’s also a battle as waves of emotions and memories are fueled by these events.  The long list of all the things that have been lost is highlighted in bright flashing lights during these memorials.  This battle creates multiple levels of scars because it happens again…..and again….and again….and again.

The Future.

I grieve over all of Davey’s lost plans and dreams.  My heart breaks a little bit more every time the thought of a dream that has been snatched away comes up and slaps me in the face.  It feels like a slap because it. will. never. be.  And it’s a stab into the parts of my heart that are broken.  I have met people who have gotten stuck in this spot.  They have chosen to give up the good that is coming when they decide to stay in the past, focused on what they have lost.  It’s tempting to do that and avoid the battle of figuring out how to move forward.  But I refuse to live in the past.  I submit to God’s plans for the future.  I trust that he has a purpose for all of this and I will move forward, knowing there are more battles yet to come.

The battles are real.  They are tough.  They hurt.  But figuring them out and winning is worth it.

Miss you , Davey.

#8144loveyou

I Have Realized

Somewhere on this painful journey since my son was killed in the line of duty, I realized that I needed to turn my head….

and focus my eyes to the future.

I will never stop grieving so, with tears rolling down my face, I had to pick up the pieces of my heart that were smashed and broken on May 18, 2016 and move forward.

Because I’m still living….

and there is more life happening.  There is much more ‘life’ coming my way.  And this is true of all of my family, friends and Davey’s squad – everyone who felt some of the light in their world go out on May 18, 2016 still has a life to live.  God has a purpose for why we are still breathing.

I only have to look at my two little fatherless grandchildren to be reminded that their whole lives are in front of them.  They have just begun.  And I want to be a fun and positive part of their future.

I look at my daughter and her family and I know that we have many great times filled with precious moments ahead.

Seeing my friends and all of the awesome Blue Family members who have become so important to us, helps me remember that the future holds countless opportunities for special times which make priceless memories.

So I’m challenged to figure out how to move positively into the future.  I’m not leaving Davey behind – I’m taking him and all of my cherished memories with me. He loved people and he loved to have fun.  He would want that for all of us.

Davey will always be a part of what is happening – even in the future.  Because he is a part of us.

And we will never forget.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou

You Remind Me of……

I have a lot of great memories of Davey.

My son, David Glasser, was a Phoenix Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty on May 19, 2016.  He lived his life large and full-out – creating a lot of great memories along the way.

He is no longer here……but those good times have not gone away.  They still live in the hearts and minds of everyone who loved him.

I am often reminded of Davey as I go through my days.  When my husband sits down with my grandson and starts talking sports, my mind flashes back to memories of my husband and son talking sports – many unending conversations about all kinds of sports.  My son knew all kinds of stats and kept up on trades and names and all the latest.  Last year, I was watching a Diamondbacks game with Davey’s son, Micah, who was 7 years-old at the time when a player hit a homerun.  Micah immediately said, “That’s his 20th homerun this year.”  Right after he said this, the announcer on the TV said, “That’s his 20th homerun this year.”

You remind me of………

My grandson looks a lot like Davey so I often see Davey out of the corner of my eye when it’s really Micah.  He also acts like Davey – making fun of everyday things and always ready to dance a little or sing a little if it’s going to add some fun into his life.  Just the other day, he was talking to me about something and first he did it with an Australian accent, then an English accent and then a ‘Monster’ accent.

You remind me of……..

We travelled to a lot of different places as Davey grew up and got into the habit of always looking for a baseball, basketball or football game to go to in the city we were visiting.  Davey continued to travel as an adult and there was usually ‘a game’ involved – where ever he went.  My daughter lives in Denver and when we recently visited her, one of her first questions to my husband was, “Do you want to go to a Rockies game?”

You remind me of …….

A woman in my Thursday morning Bible study group shared that she had bought a Bible suited for her grandson so he could start reading the Bible stories and understand the truths included in them.  My mind instantly wandered to all the hours my husband and I spent reading the Bible stories to our children before they went to bed every night.  I’ve had several people tell me they were amazed by Davey at church camp, Sunday school and Vacation Bible school – he knew the answer to every question.

You remind me of…..

My husband and I regularly have the chance to get together with various members of Davey’s squad family.  As his squad members talk about their jobs and what they are doing now, I am once again impressed by the dedication and the commitment it takes to do what they do. Their courage and perseverance in making this city a better place to live helps me remember how proud I am that Davey was and still is a part of what is right and good and honorable in my world.

You remind me of………

These awesome memories swirl through my mind, creating smiles as tears run down my face.

Miss you, Davey.

#8144loveyou